Theories of vagueness and theories of law

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Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

It is common to think that what theory of linguistic vagueness is correct has implications for debates in philosophy of law. I disagree. I argue that the implications of particular theories of vagueness on substantive issues of legal theory and practice are less far-reaching than often thought. I focus on four putative implications discussed in the literature concerning (i) the value of vagueness in the law, (ii) the possibility and value of legal indeterminacy, (iii) the possibility of the rule of law, and (iv) strong discretion. I conclude with some methodological remarks. Delineating questions about conventional meaning, the metaphysics/metasemantics of (legal) content determination, and norms of legal interpretation and judicial practice can motivate clearer answers and a more refined understanding of the space of overall theories of vagueness, interpretation, and law.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-152
Number of pages21
JournalLegal Theory
Volume25
Issue number2
Early online date23 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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